Tributes paid to two boys found dead at foot of cliffs in Teesside

Helen Pidd North of England editor
Saltburn-by-the-Sea. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty

The mother of one of two 17-year-old boys found dead at the bottom of cliffs in Teesside has paid tribute to her son, “one of the gifts in life”.

The names of the boys have not been officially released, but they are understood to be best friends Harry Watson and Alex Yeoman, according to the Northern Echo. It is not clear how they fell from the cliffs at Saltburn-by-the-Sea on Friday night.

The pair are believed to have been from Loftus and attended Brotton’s Freebrough academy, a specialist engineering college.

Harry’s mother, Tanya Watson, a fitness instructor, posted a tribute on Facebook on Saturday night, saying: “It is with great sadness and sorrow that last night our precious 17-year-old son Harry Watson has passed away.”

She added: “Please understand at this difficult time we don’t have many answers but Harry is one of the gifts in life, always there for everyone and anyone.

“He will always live in our hearts and we will get through this as the strong family that we are because that’s what Harry would have wanted.”

Harry’s older brother, Scott Watson, posted: “As most of you may have heard my baby brother Harry Watson passed away last night. He was an outstanding young man who had his whole life in front of him and was going to do great things, he made me proud to be his brother and it feels like I’ve lost a limb, I don’t know what we’re supposed to do but I know he wouldn’t want us being sad.

“He was loved by so many people. Sleep tight little brother I love you so much and I wish I told you that more. I wish I could have protected you but you were taken too soon.”

The two boys were good friends, with Alex posting a picture of the pair together on New Year’s Eve.

Police were called shortly before 7pm on Friday to a report of a body at Huntcliff in Saltburn.

In a statement, Cleveland police said: “Officers and coastguard colleagues attended the scene and found the bodies of two 17-year-old boys at the cliffs.

“Inquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances of exactly what happened. The families of the boys are being supported by specialist officers and our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time.”

Any witnesses who may have been in the area of Huntcliff around the time of the incident are asked to contact DS Paul Hodgson from Cleveland police’s major crime team on the non-emergency number, 101.